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LATEST REVIEWS
TO BE TAKEI
"An actor whose best role turns out to be himself."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: For a while, I found George Takei's twenty-first century career little more than tacky, an old man who was one a minor part of a pop culture phenomenon becoming a parody of himself in an effort to hang on to what fan he had. I'm still probably going to think that when I see him doing some of his broader bits, but this documentary should at least give some perspective of why being able to be that larger-than-life figure must be wonderful for him." (more)
HERCULES (2014)
"The strongest man alive. Excepting Brett Ratner's agent."
3 stars
Daniel Kelly says... "“Hercules” is the sort of film in which arrow supplies never diminish, a man tosses a horse and the hero spends a large portion of the final act topless. Directed by Brett Ratner, but delivering little of the pain usually inherent to such a statement, “Hercules” is a harmless, occasionally endearing hunk of steroidal cheese. The film-maker still has no discernable visual identity, but he allows this nonsense to propel at quite a clip, filling out the progressively more ridiculous set-pieces with a game cast. If you’re going to make blatant rubbish for the mass market, that’s just about the best way to do it." (more)
HAL
"Reconnecting with robots."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I know some folks who will dismiss "Hal" because it's animated (and from Japan - the characters even have big eyes!) but might otherwise seek out the humanistic flavor of science fiction it represents. It's a nifty little movie which switches up bits of one of the genre's more common stories without losing sight of why it might connect with its viewers." (more)
I, ORIGINS
"If you're searching for an epiphany,keep looking..."
2 stars
Greg Ursic says... "According to science, matter can neither created nor destroyed, so the belief that we continue in another form when we die is true. Religious adherents however presume that our consciousness also continues on and dedicate themselves to achieving the best possible post-life scenario." (more)
BOYHOOD
"Your Hood"
5 stars
Daniel Kelly says... "An intimidating amount of great writing has amassed on the subject of Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”; to the extent that anything I add automatically feels arbitrary. It’s a film which obviously demands more than one viewing, and even then the responses it encourages are so personal that nobody’s perspective or viewpoint really matters other than your own. “Boyhood” is a rare feature that defies the purpose of mainstream criticism, and certainly I doubt anything truly important will be penned on it for some time. Consideration, contemplation and further exposure aren't just advisable, they’re mandatory. As such my few choice words here are simply reactionary, far from a complete or sufficiently thoughtful analysis of the piece. Had Linklater’s experiment been more sensationalised, or bought into its own grandiose designs, it would certainly be easier to dissect and boorishly celebrate. Instead the film-maker opts for something more restrained and deceptively ordinary than I anticipated; a well selected roster of “greatest hits” from the developmental reel of an American adolescent. “Boyhood” never hits a false beat, engulfing you within its subtle medley of identifiable drama over a sweeping 164 minutes." (more)
UZUMASA LIMELIGHT
"One of the dozens of samurai that the hero hacked through gets his due."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Uzumasa Limelight" wears its inspiration on its sleeve, opening with a quote from Charles Chaplin's original film before giving some background on where this contemporary Japanese version is coming from. That's absolutely fine, though - after all, what is this film (or, indeed, Chaplin's) about if not paying homage to old masters." (more)
GOAL OF THE DEAD
"Scores a lot of points for a zombie soccer movie."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: At first glance, "zombie soccer" sounds like the sort of novelty horror-comedy that really should be about half of "Goal of the Dead"'s two hour and twenty minute length, and I wonder if the filmmakers thought that as well, because it's built to split into two, with a new director and even new opening credits at the midway point. So it's almost shocking that this thing works - it's a chaotic but clever film with more than obvious sports gags up its sleeve." (more)
YASMINE
"Kids learning about themselves through martial arts, Brunei-style."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: A lot of what audiences see in "Yasmine" will be fairly familiar and predictable, but give the filmmakers a little slack - it's the first movie that the nascent film industry in Brunei Darussalam has produced, and it doesn't hurt to walk before you run. This is a pretty decent teen sports movie, and its high points are pretty good." (more)
MR. GO
"Not a home run or strikeout, even if Mr. Go is that kind of a hitter."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2014 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I'm not going to sugar-coat this - "Mr. Go" is not the best possible movie that could be made about a gorilla who plays professional baseball. It's got some real problems. But barring this one doing well enough to bring forth "Son of Mr. Go", it's likely the only one we're going to get, and if gorillas playing professional baseball sounds like something you'd like, "Mr. Go" certainly has its moments." (more)
HERCULES (2014)
"Chisel the legend."
2 stars
Brett Gallman says... "If you need any further evidence that the gods can still be unkind, consider this: of the two Hercules films released into theaters this year, Brett Ratner was gifted with the meatier one where The Rock wears a lion on his head, while Renny Harlin toiled away with Kellan Lutz for a film that felt a half-step away from arriving direct-to-video." (more)

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